2018 Melges 24 European Sailing Series: A Sparkling Beginning for 2018 Season in Punta Ala

March 23, 2018 - Punta Ala, Italy -  The first event of 2018 Melges 24 European Sailing Series kicks off with lovely springy conditions that allowed the fifteen participating teams from six nations to start the season with a full day of sailing. Moderate breeze filled The Gulf of Follonica in the late morning and the fleet, under the superb coordination of PRO Alessandro Testa, completed three races, getting back to the moorings only in the late afternoon. 
The first victory of the season went to the newcomers of General Lee ITA793  (1-1-7) by Mario Zilliani with Samuele Nicolettis calling tactics. The Italian crew replied the same great result in the second race of the series, having then to leave room to FGF Sailing Team HUN728 (3-2-1) helmed by Robert Bakoczy, that proved to be the most consistent boat of the fleet today: with partial results that went progressively improving during the day, the Hungarian team conquered the leadership of the provisional ranking. 
FGF Sailing Team HUN728 - Punta Ala 2018 - ZGN
FGF Sailing Team  HUN728 helmed by Robert Bakoczy (3-2-1) that proved to be the most consistent boat of the fleet today.General Lee ITA793 - Punta Ala 2018 - ZGN
Photo (c) Zerogradinord / IM24CA
"The very first start of the season was not as good as we could have expected: we found ourselves out of the starting line so we had to get back in and we ended up being the last boat of the fleet. Nevertheless, already in the upwind leg we managed to gain some positions and the same we did in the following downwind, progressively improving our position in the fleet and ending up with an unexpected third place. We have been getting faster during the three races of today, which is a very good sign for the rest of the season that still has to come: we will miss just the series'event of Torbole, but all of our attention is now focused on the Europeans in Riva Del Garda" commented Robert Bakoczy, helmsman of FGF Sailing Team, at the end of the races.
The first victory of the season went to the newcomers of General Lee ITA793 (1-1-7)  by Mario Zilliani with Samuele Nicolettis calling tactics. Photo (c) Zerogradinord / IM24CA
Andrea Racchelli's Altea ITA722 (2-3-6). Photo (c)Zerogradinord / IM24CA
In the overall provisional ranking, third place is occupied by Andrea Racchelli's Altea ITA722 (2-3-6), while from fourth place we start finding the Corinthian crews: the best, among them, is the reigning double-world champion Taki 4 (ITA778, 8, 4, 3) by Marco Zammarchi, with Niccolò Bertola in helm and Giacomo Fossati calling the tactics. 
Taki 4 ITA778 (8-4-3) by Marco Zammarchi with Niccolo Bertola in helm and Giacomo Fossati calling the tactics - Photo (c)Zerogradinord / IM24CA
Gill Race Team GBR694 of Miles Quinton with Geoff Carveth helming (6-6-4) is fifth in overall and second in Corinthian ranking. Photo (c) Zerogradinord / IM24CA
Gill Race Team GBR694 of Miles Quinton with Geoff Carveth helming (6-6-4) follows in fifth with a gap of just one point over Taki 4 and Arkanoè by Montura ITA809 (4-5-15) helmed by Sergio Caramel completes the provisional podium of the Corinthian division.
Arkanoe by Montura OTA809 - Punta Ala 2018 - ZGN
Arkanoe by Montura ITA809 (4-5-15) helmed by Sergio Caramel. Photo (c) Zerogradinord / IM24CA

Tomorrow, with conditions that are forecasted as similar to those of today, the Race Committee is planning to complete three more races, with first start scheduled for 10.00am.
Media coverage of the event is provided by the media partner of the International Melges 24 Class, Zerogradinord and Melges Europe is in Punta Ala to support and serve the teams.
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2018 Melges 24 European Sailing Series consists of the six events altogether. The season will open in Tuscany, in iconic Punta Ala and will continue in Slovenia in April (27-29), with the fleet heading to Portoroz that welcomes the Melges 24 class for the fifth time after the successful events of the past four years. The 2018 Melges 24 European Sailing Series will then move on to the internal waters, with a double appointment on the Garda Lake: Torbole (June 29 up to July 1), where the Melges 24 international fleet will return after the 2012 Worlds with the record number of 127 entries, and Riva del Garda (August 3-10) for the Melges 24 European Championship. The season will end with the Melges 24 Italian Championship to be sailed on the Como Lake in Domaso (September 14-16), and with the Lino Favini Cup, also valid as Swiss Open Championship held in Luino (October 12-14)  
More information and the   Notice of Race of the series   can be found at melges24.com/europeansailingseries
For further information on the event , please contact:

Yacht Club Punta Ala
Tel.: +39 0564 923232
Email: ycpa@ycpa.it

Classe Italiana Melges24
Tel.: +39 329 7193519
Email: segreteria@melges24.it
Piret Salmistu  
IM24CA Administrator & Media Coordinator 
Tel.: +372 507 7217
Melges 24 ESS 2018 - Punta Ala